Where we work

Vanuatu

Over 80 per cent of Vanuatu’s population live in rural, isolated villages with very limited access to basic health and education services.

What are the eye health problems?

Vanuatu has a rapidly growing, mostly rural population spread over 80 islands which makes it very difficult to provide health services. Cataract is still one of the major causes of blindness and almost 60 per cent of people with diabetes have diabetic retinopathy.

Our work in Vanuatu

In 2001 we launched the country’s first national eye care programme. Before this there was one eye clinic with a part-time eye nurse using outdated equipment. Over the next five years we trained eye specialists, set up two surgical centres, and equipped four provincial hospitals with eye care clinics.

In 2015 the Ministry of Health agreed to help us reach our goal of training three new eye doctors by 2020. The following year we began training Dr Kasso who is expected to graduate in 2018. When he returns home he’ll be the nation's first eye doctor.

We’ve established a diabetic retinopathy programme in Port Vila, with visiting eye doctors working closely with local Foundation-trained eye nurses to screen and treat diabetic retinopathy patients. Our Pacific outreach team continues to visit to address urgent eye care needs.

The team get together to discuss the programme for the day, which will involve consultations, surgeries and follow-ups.
Gabriella, age five, waiting for surgery to remove her cataract

Progress in sight

  • This year we'll begin an upgrade and extension of the Port Vila National Eye Centre. This will include a dedicated operating theatre and surgical suite, a pre-and-post-operative recovery room, sterilisation area and surgical scrub bays.
  • Vanuatu’s first trained eye doctor is expected to graduate and return home in 2018.
  • Our Pacific outreach team spent four weeks in Vanuatu in 2017, providing surgical eye care and diabetic retinopathy services. They saw 776 patients, performed 253 surgeries, ad completed 31 diabetic laser treatment sessions.

Where we work

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